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Upgrade from my 5 year old comp

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
November 13, 2006 4:52:42 PM

Hello all, Ive finally come to the point where I can begin building a new computer. Mine sorely needs a replacement (1.8ghz P4, 9600pro) and Ive gobbled up all the necesarry components(e6600, ect.) aside from 2 key pieces; Motherboard and Video Card.

So begins my delimma. I definatly am interested in the 8800 series and Im pretty set on a GTS concidering the price of the GTX. Im not going to SLI, but I do want to do a bit of OCing, nothing crazy. Would it be in my best interest to get one of the new n600 boards or would a 965 be fine for what Im looking for. With the extra saving on a mid ranged 965 mobo perhaps I can even look into the GTX. What are your suggestions? Thank you.

More about : upgrade year comp

November 13, 2006 9:26:02 PM

My brief suggestion to you: wait a week. If you have some money to spare you definitely owe it to yourself and your hardware to make sure your taking the right step on your mobo. That will be the determining factor in all your upgrading until you buy a new one, which you'll want to do as infrequently as possible. The new n600s haven't been out long. Give it at least a week for reviews. You've been using you old computer for 5 years. 7 days shouldn't make a difference. For my long suggestion and a bit of a rant, keep reading.

Im not going to SLI, but I do want to do a bit of OCing, nothing crazy. Would it be in my best interest to get one of the new n600 boards or would a 965 be fine for what Im looking for. With the extra saving on a mid ranged 965 mobo perhaps I can even look into the GTX.

Well, it seems almost silly, but you have a million dollar question and your asking for our two cents. Okay, maybe not a million dollars, but hopefully you get the point. Did you notice no one has responded yet, four hours after your post during peak activity in the forumz? It's not because no one knows what motherboards are great. Most of us have great motherboards (myself excluded), but we can't recommend a hole for your unspecified pegs. The big question here is what are you looking for?

THG just did a comparison guide on 965 mobos as you've likely seen. I'd highly recommend you become familiar with that article as ultimately it's features that will decide what mobo you really need.

Think about what other features and integrated components. Dual-Gigabit LAN? WiFi? Intergrated Audio controller? 5.1 or 7.1? 4 or 6 SATA ports? 1 or 2 Legacy IDE? eSATA? Rear/front USB/Firewire ports? Which of these do you need? What motherboards have them, or as many as possible. That's what you should consider buying, then ask for advice.

All you mentioned is you aren't planning on using SLI and you'd like some OC-ing options. Okay, that sounds like a mid-range board to me. But then you say you could get a GTX with the saved money. That sounds like you'll only settle for the best in graphics, but you're willing to give it a sub-par home? Don't make that mistake. Graphics cards will get better in a matter of months, but you won't want to upgrade your motherboard for a couple of years. Why? Because they aren't that sexy! You will likely never notice it's benefits after you OC as you'll be salivating over your video card and Core 2 Duo...until you get halted in upgrading. Are you looking at long term hardware compatibility and upgradeability or at some DX10 screenshots?

Speaking of long term: You may not need SLI now, but are you sure SLI isn't an option in your future? It isn't hard to find boards with OC-ing options, but the best boards are also the more expensive SLI models. Hardware will change in unexpected ways, but plan for what you'd likely buy next holiday season anyway.

Ultimately it's these decisions that will determine what you buy. And this has to come from you. You can ask how we feel about specific features, but whether you want them or not is entirely up to you. I'm not trying to sway your opinion (...yet), but I am trying to get you to write what you need in some sort of ink, or at least pencil. So take some time and read. You'll feel a lot better knowing that you did what was best for you, your hardware, and your future.
November 14, 2006 3:29:59 AM

That was quite a thoughtfull reply VBDude, thank you for your insight. Yes, I was very vague with what I really want, and Im sorry for that. So Ive come to the conclusion that getting a very nice mobo is a good investment because you never really want to have to replace that, I was never very sure of that but you have swayed me well enough.

Since Im interested in the G80 series than I will probably wait for any new developements in the n680i series since those seem to be good enthusiast boards, but Ill try not to rush into it. Im torn though because there are plenty of 975X boards that are proven but Ill have no SLI option with one of these pricey G80's. I doubt I can wait long enough for R600, patience wears thin after 5 years :) .

Im also weary of the eVGA boards only because of possible problems in the long term bios wise, and comparitivly to other brands (Asus, ect.). I suppose the name of the game is waiting, isnt it always?
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November 14, 2006 6:08:18 PM

No problem. I'm new, so I haven't learned yet. So, did you decide what features you'd like on the board yet? What's your price point? And what other components did you alreay get?

Yes, we always play the waiting game, but some times the most fun comes from pouncing when opporitunity strikes. My 7900 GTO, for example, ran out of stock the day after I bought it, and now they're very hard to come by. If you followed that release you'll know it was full of debate about stable OC-ing and where these cards came from (refurbished GTXs w/ bad memory?), but after reading up as much as I was the lack of stock on the Sapphire X1900XT on NewEgg that made up my mind. :D  At least now I know I made the right decision.

It's partially that first-kid-on-the-block mentality that made me suggest waiting a week in the first place. There's no doubt that there's a certain coolness factor to owning fresh, (relatively) unknown hardware. But where do you draw the line between new and established before you make your decision with you wallet? Well, I'm hoping my one week mark (six days now :wink: ) is accurate, and gives you enough time to breath before you take the plunge, but it's up to you.

I think you made a good decision on the video card, and not just because the G80 is the only DX10 part available right now. It will be a long wait until ATI's offerings appear and if you've got money to spend now you'll want to spend it on what's best now. I myself plan to step-up my card to a 8800GTS. That's actually why I wanted to buy a GTO in the first place. As for the possibility of a GTX, make sure your system has room before you even consider it. These are 11" parts, and I just barely have room for the 9" GTO in my mid-tower case, because of the extra power cable hooked up in the back butting in to an IDE hard drive ribbon cable. The placement of the power connector on the GTS should fix that problem. Since you didn't mention what case you did get, no one here will be able to confirm it'll fit. If you've already got it, you could put some components in and do some measuring.

One more thing that worries me before I close: what power supply are you using? That could limit your upgrading as well.

Happy hunting, and thanks for taking my suggestion, not me, seriously. :p 
November 14, 2006 6:29:49 PM

Concerning my system, Im only using 1 drive at the moment and 1 Sata HD (WD Caviar 200GB). I also purchased a 600w OCZ gamexstream psu, Im hoping that will suit my needs for now. I also have a Cooler Master Centurion 5, it has quite a bit of room.

Im not really looking for a huge slew of options on the mobo, this is really mainly for gaming and regular use but nothing very technical. The usual ports (USB2, Firewire, etc) ill use, but I dont have anything that I really need aside from the gaming aspects. I just want to make a good decision and Im sure people here are the ones to ask. Thank you for the advice VBDude, anything else you might suggest?
November 14, 2006 9:13:57 PM

It saddens me that I'm the only one replying so far, but at least your post is getting more hits! :) 

If your not doing a lot of media work (videos, etc.) and you don't have a lot of games, 200GB ought to be fine for a while. (I've got 500GB and I'm only using 120GB right now, and most of that is apps and videos I don't intend to download again, but want to keep on hand.) At any rate, it's not too expensive to upgrade later.

Your power supply should do nicely, though I'm not sure about G80 SLI. I've forgotten the power requirements (link anyone?), but I know they're substantial (less than expected, but higher than current gen, at least from nVidia). Quad rails on 12V is good, but I'm not sure how many watts you'll need. You can scout the forumz, but it probably shouldn't matter anyway unless you actually find some extra cash and decide to buy another card.

I know absolutely nothing about the case, except what it looks like. :wink: But the dimensions closely match the CM Cavalier 3 which MU_Engineer claims is too small. So it looks like the GTX may not be in your case's future. (Anyone disagree?) Again, if you've already got it, measure it.

As for motherboards, information and comparisons on 680i boards are finally popping up:
November 15, 2006 12:31:50 PM

I can't thank you enough for the thoughtfull responses VBDude. I have no problem "accomodating"(saw :) ) a GTX in my case if I have to, if even possible in my case. All in all though, I'm probably going with the GTS which I'm sure/hope will fit.

My current HD is 40 GB, so Im quite used to small amounts of space, 200 GB seems huge at the moment, but I'm sure that will change. Im glad the psu is fine, it took quite a bit of research to find one that I didnt want to spend too much on but would be more than enough to suit my needs (Got it for under 100 with free shipping). Thank you for the links aswell, very informative. I only wish some of Gigabyte's offerings and others weren't coming so late (late December?), otherwise I would wait for those aswell.
November 15, 2006 4:57:30 PM

I have no problem "accomodating"(saw :) ) a GTX in my case if I have to, if even possible in my case. All in all though, I'm probably going with the GTS which I'm sure/hope will fit.

Well, if you only have one hard drive, I'm sure a saw (or a dremel) could coax a GTX to fit perfectly. Maybe you could do a case mod and rotate the drive cage 90°, then you could probably fit two or three! 8O But that's probably overkill as I'm sure you'd be fine with a GTS. I'm sure it'll fit...right up to the point where it doesn't and you get mad at me. :oops:  You know, somewhere between 100% and about...maybe 1%. Not a bad average though. :wink:

Good luck.